Real Men Sow

Six Tips for Buying Seeds to Save Cash

There is a lot of January excitement going around, as us growers begin rifling through the seed catalogues and surfing seed retailer websites in earnest.

Now I’ve had a few weeks to digest my veg saving experiment results, I thought it would be a good time to share some tips on what to buy if your grow your own focus for the coming year is saving some dosh.

With hindsight, its obvious stuff, but this time last year I didn’t realise any of this.

1. Grow What You Eat
Beetroot was a surprising third place for me in the list of biggest money saving veg, but perhaps it shouldn’t have come as such a shock. After all, we love beets in my house and eat a lot of them in salads and sarnies.

As well as my favourites, I try not to forget the good old fashioned staples – veg that form the backbone of many a meal, such as garlic and onions.

The interesting thing here is that although strawbs saved me a heap during 2011, I’m not sure I’d have eaten that many of the fruit if I hadn’t have grown them, and consequently other less fashionable veg like beets and spinach might be a better bet.

2. Grow Veg to Store
Squashes are a great example of veg that I grow to store. They are expensive in the shops, and last for yonks. My butternuts and crown prince are still sitting happily in my dining room without a hint of deterioration. I reckon I’ll get a good couple of months out of them yet, too.

Growing veg to store means that you can make savings all year round from one harvest.

Of course, some veg ‘stores’ really well in the ground also, such as leeks.

3. Grow Veg to Freeze
The wonders of a fridge freezer kind of defeat the object of seasonal eating, but again allows you to save money all year round (unless you’re factoring in electrical costs! *scratches head*).

This is especially applicable with fruit. Growing and freezing rhubarb and gooseberries, for example, will give you tasty stewed fruit all through winter, as opposed to raspberries and strawberries, which have to munched at harvest time.

4. Grow Veg that Lasts
Spinach and chard are a good example of veg that has a long life out on the plot. My chard will often last nine months of the year, and as it is a cut and come again variety, keeps on growing the more I pick. This levels out my savings across the year and means I can eat spinach when I like, rather than in a big glut.

5. Grow Some Winter Veg
Leeks, the ever reliant curly kale (another cut and come again veg) and chard are all good value veg that will provide the grower with good, steady savings during the winter. Although the savings aren’t as big during winter as summer, it’s still good to spread the cash.

6. Grow Reliable Veg
If you want to make savings, my list showed me that you need to grow veg that can be almost guaranteed to thrive on your plot. Caulis, for example, would give me a good saving, but I really struggle to grow them.

Beets, on the other hand, thrive in my soil and always have. Squashes also excel, as do French beans, and none of these veg have ever been affected by disease or pest.

With GYO money saving, I reckon it’s good to know what you’re going to get.

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  1. JohnJanuary 28, 2012 at 4:09 pmReply

    Great set of tips

  2. MelJanuary 29, 2012 at 11:40 amReply

    Hello, These are great tips, thank you.

    It is possible to freeze raspberries – my mum does it every year, although it is a bit of a faff, and requires space at first. you have to stand them on their bases, so that they are not touching each other, in a freezer tray. Once they are frozen, they can be bagged up, to take less space, but the first bit can’t be skipped. They must not have water on them, as this will damage them in the freezing process.

    You won’t win any beauty prizes, for them, but they are great in trifle and compotes and other things once they are defrosted again. They stay fairly whole if you defrost them on their bases on some kitchen paper.

    I only have a couple of canes, so mine never make it to the freezer in any case!

  3. Jono

    JonoFebruary 1, 2012 at 7:57 pmReplyAuthor

    Actually, my mum does blackberries in the same way now I remember. Thanks for the tip, much appreciated.

    I have frozen a few before. Lovely mixed with some yoghurt or ice cream. :)

  4. Reading while lurgy-ed | The Really Good LifeFebruary 9, 2012 at 1:37 pmReply

    [...] of Real Men Sow has written a great summary post about the things to consider when buying seeds for this growing season – things he learnt from tracking the money savings from his growing last [...]

  5. Sharon L-JJune 21, 2013 at 10:48 amReply

    If you want berries for jam,compot, sauces, or smoothies then they can just be frozen in lumps. If you want them to flow freely freeze then spread on a tray or in the bottom of a freezer box before bagging up. They taste great straight from the freezer like sweeties. Also whole berries stirred into juice/smoothies or yoghurt and frozen as lollies is a good way to preserve them too. Finally put in ice cube trays with a mint leaf topped up with water makes for very pretty drinks.

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meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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